The Curious History of Crap — From Space Junk to Actual Poop

Ziya Tong writes a brief history of human waste — from “night soil” to space junk — in an excerpt from her new book, The Reality Bubble.

Author: Ziya Tong
Source: Backchannel
Published: May 14, 2019
Length: 17 minutes (4,374 words)

How My Instagram Hacker Changed My Life

After her sought-after five-letter Instagram handle was stolen by an Iranian hacker, professor Negar Mottahedeh opens up the door to her former homeland, striking up an unlikely friendship with the thief to learn more about a man struggling to earn a living in an economy compromised by 35 years of US-led sanctions.

Source: Backchannel
Published: Aug 18, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,036 words)

How the Internet Gave Mail-Order Brides the Power

With divorce illegal and online dating popular, it’s hard for women in the Philippines to protect their interests when they get involved with Western men, but a new generation with new technology is reshaping the online mating ritual to finally help tip the scales in women’s’ favor.

Source: Backchannel
Published: Mar 21, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,022 words)

The Troll Taunter

Andrew McMillen writes on how one young Wikipedia admin fights back at trolls by raising the profile of notable women in science, one new Wikipedia page at a time.

Source: Backchannel
Published: Feb 6, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,064 words)

What Was Virtual Reality?

At Backchannel, a reprint of John Perry Barlow’s seminal 1990 essay on Virtual Reality, “Being in Nothingness.”

Source: Backchannel
Published: Apr 30, 2015
Length: 25 minutes (6,495 words)

Why Homejoy Failed

Can home cleaning services be Uber-ified? How a promising startup grew fast and failed hard.

Source: Backchannel
Published: Oct 26, 2015
Length: 13 minutes (3,480 words)

The Heroin Heroine of Reddit

How a former heroin addict turned public health advocate uses the internet to save lives.

Source: Backchannel
Published: Jul 21, 2015
Length: 10 minutes (2,623 words)

Our Hiring Process is Broken. Can a Hackathon Fix It?

Hiring managers often reject perfectly good applicants because they didn’t go to “prestige” schools or because the applicant might not be a good “cultural fit.” Is there a better way to hire?

Source: Backchannel
Published: Jan 26, 2015
Length: 11 minutes (2,789 words)